Sometime in the early 90s (I'm thinking '93 or '94)
I was bored. Second semester of seventh grade, and somehow I had managed to land myself the easiest schedule ever. I can't remember the order of the classes, but it went something like this:
1) American history
5) teacher helper
7) study hall
Did you notice those last three classes? Yes. I had a lot of free time on my hands. I finished all my homework before fifth period was over. I started going through three books at the library a week. I started writing notes to my friends like crazy. I started--well, I started a book.
I took a piece of notebook paper, folded it in half, and wrote "Walk Me Home. By Tamara Hart. Chapter 1." Yes, that was the original title, and that was my original name.
I started the book thinking about my three best friends, thinking of "The Babysitters Club", and thinking about what would be an exciting story. I came up with the idea of a kidnapping. I also wanted to share my LDS beliefs in a non-obtrusive way. Kids love reading about other kids. So my four girl characters, aged 12 to 14, were all LDS. As I was only 12 at the time, there was a lot of silliness--like getting away from the kidnapper and going on a shopping spree at the mall--and going into Sam's Club to try all the samples. I employed a lot of known 'plot devices' at the time (I thought I was being clever...) like a real skeleton in the closet, and horrible, nightmarish incidents that turned out to be dreams. Yes, I cringe a little, but I was just a kid.
Let me tell ya. This became my biggest obsession. I didn't finish writing the book until right before school started in eighth grade. But I did finish it. My dad began the arduous process of typing it for me, until I mastered keyboarding in the second semester of eighth grade. Then I finished typing it up. I took those typed pages with me everywhere, handing them out in class, on the bus, at Girl Scouts. I was so proud of what I'd written. I was 12, and I'd written a book. (Of course, by the time I got it all typed up, I was 13.) After this thing's published...I'll pull out the original first page and you can laugh at it with me.